Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Musings on modern feminism

I have some commentary on what feminism has become today. Or the things it has become, as it is clearly a quite split and general agenda at this point. Feminism doesn't so much strive for a single goal as it is a collection of ideals and a fight towards what is simply a better state of being. Having achieved so much already, though, I don't think some of the methods of feminism today are wise or even logical. Standing on the barricades isn't going to work anymore.

The trend of change needs to make a transition from conscious to unconscious. Instead of fighting for rights, etc., where great strides have been made, we have to focus on the way we raise the next generations. Our children will need to be more respectful, and not share the conservative ideals that serve as the biggest hindrance to e.g. equality in the workplace, home and so on. There are some basic things today that prevent equality between the genders (Speaking on a general level, of course.), and these hindrances are written in our schoolbooks, the curriculum, and the minds of most everyone who grew up... Well, ever. Even the bible is sexist.

These sexist subtleties are what cause the disparity between how we view men and women. They create the stereotypes, which effect our behavior. What I mean by that can be illustrated with an example. The world is getting more equal every day. Thus, older books contain more sexist material. Be it ideas or values, or sexist rhetoric, it affects the way we think. The sexism affects us whether we want it to, or not. And so female acceptance of what is indeed an unadvantaged position is born. We need to be more conscious of how the traces we leave affect those who come after us.

In a perfect world, every school book, every educational film, everything, would be remade to be completely gender neutral. And it's not just about literature and written word. We have to get rid of all the underhand jabs that the female gender has to take. The sexism of the everyday. Same goes in the LGBT-cause. The only thing that fights progress is the fact that the generations alive today were taught to hate certain things, taught by the books they read and the conservative ideals passed on from grandparents to parents to children. Taught by the very language we speak. It all comes from a more sexist place, a world that doesn't exist anymore. A heritage that affects us whether we like it or not.

While that is perhaps not a feasible outcome, or even desired (Not everything can be perfectly gender neutral.), some things can be done, which leads me to what was actually going to be the first paragraph in this blog entry;

So the other day I listened to a debate, and saw a couple short films. One on the radio (YLE), the other on a paid TV-channel.

As you can probably tell by me writing this in the first place, things escalated quite severely. I don't even have time to write about the short films, the particular chain of thought that I've been writing about just turned out to be way too long. Anyhow, what set of this whole entry was that one of the members of the debate pointed out that women have no good word for their reproductive organs. It's okay for a child to talk about snoppar, which is dicks in swedish, but it's not okay to talk about fittor (vaginas). In fact, there isn't really a good word for it in swedish. The debater went on to use the word Snippa, which is actually a pretty good word.

The problem is, though, when I was 5, I probably had no idea there was such a word, and I'm not sure many girls did either. In fact, when I was 5, Snippa wasn't even a word. It was accepted into Svenska Akademiens Ordlista in 2006. The debater and I wonder, did most of the young girls get slapped when they spoke of their genitals? Because besides snippa, I really can't think of another Swedish word for vaginas that isn't considered naughty. Boys talk about dicks all their lives, but women only learn the proper terminology once they have sex-education in school.

And it's the small things such as this that together constitute the biggest obstacles that feminism faces today, and cause the predisposed, everyday sexism that no one really seems to pay much attention to, but it's also is what makes all the difference.

Sadly, the drawing is completely unrelated. I wish I had something more fitting to show, but alas. It's a far since evenings sketchings, which I'd crammed in somewhere inbetween reading for my matriculation exams, which are now fortunately over. I don't think I realized how much pressure the exams put on me. While I believe I also handled that stress quite alright, it may have affected me in more ways than I felt. But as I am now planning on giving writing on a regular basis another go, I'll save that bit for a future entry, this one is long enough as it is.


  1. It's nice to finally see a new post from you, and a good one at that. I don't really have that much to add, I pretty much agree with you. If one would want to use psychological terminology for how these "sexist" thoughts are taught to us, making us not even really reflect upon them as sexist, one would probably blame that on inner working models. They have, as you said, pretty much become a natural part of our every day; even to the extent that you can find instances of it wherever you look. But I don't believe that one can easily get around that, since many animals - not only humans - react differently to different kinds of groups or categorizations, by instinct. To begin with, we use labels to simplify things - this is a man, and this is a woman. After that, you begin to misuse those labels and apply them to situations where they don't belong. If the human species ever evolves past that, it will be far after our deaths, not to speak of coming generations. Sigh, this is not really an issue you can write a short text about and be done with it... No matter how many books one would write, there would always be something left to mention :/

    Although it doesn't directly correlate to the post, I like your drawing :) I see that you too have a certain drawing towards skulls, which is interestingly usual for artists, overall. I guess that has to do with what a cranium symbolises.
    What usually inspires you to create art? I always find that the inspiration can be born from pretty much anything at all. It can come from the weirdest places, or just casually be born from seemingly nothing at all o.O
    I was just wondering why you decided it would be a good idea to draw smoke coming out of the eyes of a girl with that kind of an expression :p


    1. Well, I think the core message of the whole entry could be summarized by saying that we need to pay more attention to how we raise and educate the coming generations. I believe it is within the early developing years in a child's life that the groundwork for how this child will perceive women in the future is set, and that groundwork doesn't change and is often in fact amplified as a person grows. It's because the world has been such a patriarch place, and it follows and lingers with us today in e.g. our literature and the subtle nuances that children pick up from the world around them.

      Where I got the inspiration from... Well, prior to this, I drew another, similar picture. Both featured this woman, looking slightly upwards. What I wanted to do was just draw another one, to try to further hone those proportions and practice drawing women's faces in this quite awkward to draw position. The sketch turned out quite satisfactory, so I figured I might as well make it special, so I drew that smoke thing. And the skull. Skulls are perfect, because they don't require you to get all that creative, and at the same time they're quite complex, shape-wise. They're just great practice.

      Generally, as an artist, a lot of my inspiration does in fact come from other people's work, and I'm sure that's the case for most of us. While it's rare that I would copy anything, it's healthy practice to play with other artists' creative concepts, to play with them and try to make them your own. And it also takes the pressure off being awfully creative and lets you focus on developing your technique.


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